Just over one hundred anti-refugee demonstrators met on the steps of the Washington State Capitol building to protest the recent announcement by Governor Jay Inslee that Washington would continue to accept refugees from Syria. You can read about it here… Gov. Jay Inslee says…
Over 150 pro-refugee demonstrators started by standing on the steps of the Washington Supreme Court but ended up in the parking lot near the steps of the Capitol Building while chanting and being pushed back by “security” until State Troopers attempted control.
“Security” from the anti-refugee demonstration linked arms and pushed pro-refugee demonstrators back as the lone Washington State Trooper attempted to keep order. Backup was called in and 8-10 troopers eventually formed a line preventing pro-refugee demonstrators from getting closer.
The anti-refugee group could also be heard complaining of the “denial of [their] first amendment rights” while speaking over a PA system. An anti-refugee demonstrator can be seen below pushing a pro-refugee demonstrator off the sidewalk at the Capitol building, into the parking lot and away from “their side” as seen in the images below.
An altercation where an anti-refugee demonstrator was seen hitting a pro-refugee demonstrator with a sign can be seen in the images below.
Some demonstrators in protest of accepting refugees expressed concern over the vetting process and “Ted” from the “Shelton area” says he’s there “to let Governor Inslee know that we shouldn’t be bringing in just anybody, cause we all know that there are some people in ISIS who have been infiltrating and until we know why they’re coming in here and who they are, we shouldn’t let them in.” Ted later added, “We’re not here to be radicals or say we don’t like immigrants or refugees, we just want to do it correctly, we want to save our country. Because, we’re going to get hit one of these days. Will it be one of these Syrians? We don’t know that, but why risk it? Why risk my family, my wife, my child, in a mall that gets blown up because we didn’t take our time. Why rush it? ”
State Representative Cindy Ryu had this to say about her attendance at the demonstration…”As a Christian, I am for keeping our principles of as United States citizens of keeping it open, as we have done for centuries. As an immigrant myself and having been welcomed, I would like to extend that love and openness to other immigrants, including refugees.”. When asked about anti-refugee demonstrators fear of ISIS infiltrating refugees, she responded “It’s just like every other hate group, of acting and reacting, knee jerk reactions without knowing the full scope of the issues are, and just reacting without thinking it through.” When asked about the concerns that the vetting process isn’t good enough, Representative Ryu says, “Every immigrant is fingerprinted, as I was. We actually have way more evidence of immigrants than we have of American born citizens. In my opinion, we are vetting them as much as any other country.” Representative Strom Peterson from the 21st Legislative District adds “They’re waiting 18-24 months before they’re even allowed to the next process. These are primarily families and women with young children, older folks that have been living in really tough conditions, but being interviewed through the process. This is the same fear that has been used in any immigration story in the history of our country, whether it’s the Italians, or the Irish, obviously the Jews coming over before World War 2 were turned away. The same kind of paranoia, and fear, and oh, it’s the other. I’m here standing with my friend, Cindy, an immigrant, and obviously my ancestors were. This is where we have to stand up. Especially in Washington, we have a history of accepting immigrants into our state that have created a culture that is second to none across the country. Whether it was the Vietnamese that we brought in the early 70’s or just throughout our history. Here’s another opportunity to show what we’re made of as Washingtonians and not succumb to the fear.” Representative Ryu adds…”to that point, the innovative economy in Washington state is due to a lot of the welcoming of immigrants, whether they’re refugees or any other type of immigrants and as a Christian woman, this is exactly what Jesus would do, welcoming refugees.” Cindy and Strom can be seen holding signs below.
Activists in support of refugees in Washington could be heard chanting “Don’t give in to racist fear, refugees are welcome here” and “hey hey, ho ho, all these racists got to go”
Miriam Padilla, above, a cousin of one of the Paris terrorist attack victims, says “One of the biggest mistakes is to not understand that Arabs and Muslims are some of ISIS’s biggest victims. Not welcoming refugees will not stop terrorism. I don’t know how anyone could hold a sign that says ‘no refugees’. It’s inhumane. It’s ignorance, racism, nationalism, they’re wrong.” Scans of Miriam’s statement can be read below.
Kingston (almost 8), hidden by a sign below, came out because”I support all these people here….I support refugees”. His mother, Lisa, adds “Fundamentally as parents we feel we like have to teach him to take a stand. We spend a lot of time talking about this stuff and we feel that it doesn’t do good just to talk about it. We need to be able demonstrate that we’re also willing to do something about what we say we believe in.”
Anti refugee protesters then climbed the steps to the Capitol building to deliver a petition with 1800 signatures demanding an end to the placement of Syrian refugees in Washington to Governor Inslee’s office.
Counter protesters soon took the steps of the Capitol where they held a speak out and listened as Miriam Padilla read her statement. The two groups remained separated by State Troopers until both sides began to leave Capitol grounds. No arrests were made.